13 standout moments from Season 1 of Marvel’s Luke Cage

By ·October 2, 2016 11:30 am
Luke Cage SDCC

Marvel’s Luke Cage finally hit on Friday and – as is tradition with Marvel Netflix shows for us – we blitzed through the entirety of it as fast as we could. We found it to be a stylish, understated and robust season. We enjoyed it quite a bit, but for us, it’s definitely the least best of Marvel’s Netflix shows, to date.

During our binge we took notes of the moments that truly stood out for us. Below we highlight our 13 favourite moments from Season 1, in descending order of quality.

Naturally, heavy spoilers for Season 1 are contained within this article.

13] “You want some?”/”I don’t even like these n*ggas, man”

From: Episode 1, Moment of Truth

After Luke takes out a group of criminals in a restaurant, only one man remains standing. As Luke glares at the man and asks: “You want some?”, the man humorously states that he didn’t even like these “ni*ggas” anyway and awkwardly edges his way around the tables, staying as far away from Luke as he can, before running out of the restaurant. It’s an early moment of comedy that highlights that there will be humour in the show and that there is little honour there is among criminals.

12] “I’m not sleeping with you”/”You didn’t even touch your coffee this morning”

From: Episode 6, Suckas Need Bodyguards

In a moment that subverts the audience’s expectations of romance by pointing out what everyone’s thinking, the writers give Claire Temple the line: “I’m not sleeping with you”, when Luke invites her for a coffee. Luke acts affronted and says can’t coffee just be coffee, but Claire points out that she saw him drink an orange juice and that he doesn’t even drink coffee, catching him dead to rights in trying to hit on her. Later on in the season Misty and Claire discuss Luke’s coffee habits, and at the end of the season Luke states that his liking coffee depends on the blend.

11] Luke’s Reaction to Reva’s Deception

From: Episode 10, Take it Personal

Upon the revelation that Reva was deceiving Luke within Seagate, Luke near tears up while watching her video diaries. Even after the amount of time that has passed, he still lets Reva get to him, which shows that he’s a man with powerful emotions. This is further evidenced by Luke’s next action, which is smashing apart the barn, just because Dr. Burstein annoyed him a little, pushing his pain regarding Reva over the edge.

Reva Connors, who we later learn was deceiving Luke during his time in Seagate.

Reva Connors, who we later learn was deceiving Luke during his time in Seagate.

10] “Now you’re just pissing me off”/Stopping a Speeding Car

From: Episode 6, Suckas Need Bodyguards

Rarely do we see Luke lose his temper or get frustrated. In a cool moment here he literally states that the criminals are now simply just pissing him off. This is followed by an impressive scene where Luke saves lives by placing himself in front of a speeding car whose driver has homicidal intent. As expected, the car crumples up around Luke, not moving him and inch. For a show about a man with superhuman strength, scenes like this are expected and are satisfying to witness.

9] “You got skills”/”My Father”,”My Uncle”

From: Episode 11, Now You’re Mine

We adored the moment when Misty and Claire bond for a moment, straight after their joint successful effort to knock out Shades Alvarez. Misty tells Claire that she has skills, Claire says “likewise”, then Misty elaborates: “my Father” and Claire elaborates: “my Uncle” and they both share a chuckle. It’s a sweet moment and it’s the first time that we really see these two powerful women interact on a personal level.

Claire Temple in her very own poster for Luke Cage Season 1.

Claire Temple in her very own poster for Luke Cage Season 1.

8] Shades Stomp

From: Episode 11, Now You’re Mine

Claire Temple is the great interconnecting constant between all of the Marvel Netflix seasons and each time we see her she proves her grit, determination and medical prowess. This season was no different. From knocking out criminals, to throwing criminals down stairs, to saving Luke’s life (again), she made a big difference. Our favourite moment of Claire’s was simply when Shades Alvarez is being taken into custody and he trips, dropping his sunglasses. Claire immediately stomps on them and glowers at him. It made us laugh and it shows she’s not adverse to unnecessary pettiness, if the target deserves it.

7] Shielding a Cop from Friendly Fire

From: Episode 9, DWYCK

Luke is a good soul and one of the best moments that evidenced this for us was when he comes across two cops who recognise him and try to apprehend him. After subduing the first officer, Luke knows that the second officer is about to open fire upon him, so he wraps his arms around the first officer and turns his back to the officer who is opening fire, to take all of the gunfire. Luke shields many people in this manner throughout the season, but the fact that he does this even for police officers who are trying to harm him (plus he was heavily wounded at this point, so his temperament wouldn’t have been great) showcases Luke’s propensity to protect good people, no matter the situation.

6] “I don’t have time for this”/Head Tap for a Phone

From: Episode 12, Soliloquy of Chaos

This scene arrives when Luke is on the run and, as he states, he really doesn’t have time to stop two masked men robbing a convenience store, but he does so anyway. It’s worth noting that there’s a poster on the wall with a photo of Stan Lee in a police officer’s uniform and the words: ‘SEE A CRIME? REPORT IT!’, which is a nice little Easter Egg. Once inside the store, the criminals become flustered around Luke. When one of them shoots at Luke, he immediately apologises afterwards. Luke then asks for his phone, giving him a tap on the head to knock him out in return. It’s a fun scene to have so late in the game, which is usually reserved for serious endgame content.

5] “I’m about sick of always having to buy new clothes”/”You got this in double XL?”

From: Episode 7, Manifest

An example of Luke Cage's clothes being riddled with bullet holes.

An example of Luke Cage’s clothes being riddled with bullet holes.

We loved this moment, as the show addressed what we’d all been thinking about how many clothes Luke must go through. Instead of leaving this as somewhat of a plot hole (we never see him buy new clothes, except for that lavish suit), the writers addressed it outright in a moment of comedy. After being shot at, Luke states that he’s about sick of having to buy new clothes. After he has resolved what he came for, he then picks up a hoody on his way out, turns around to the criminal and asks if they have that in XXL, creating a double punch of comedic brilliance.

4] “Do I even need to say it?”/Cowardly Criminals Disperse

From: Episode 7, Manifest

Right at the beginning of Episode 7 (which is pivotal episode for the season, for various reasons), Luke walks right up to Zip while he is peddling guns to a gang of criminals. The casualness of his stroll up to them is what makes the moment great and the criminals take a moment to register who he is. Once they’re fully aware, Luke simply states: “do I even need to say it?” – referring to his need to spout some line about their fates if they linger – and every single one of the men scatter, except for Zip. Just like the criminals in the scene, this great moment caught us off guard a little too and we loved it.

3] Jidenna’s Performance of Long Live the Chief

From: Episode 6, Suckas Need Bodyguards

The single cover art for Jidenna's 'Long Live the Chief'.

The single cover art for Jidenna’s ‘Long Live the Chief’.

Cottonmouth’s club sees a handful of different live acts take to the stage, with many of them performing just for Cottonmouth with no audience present (which reminded us of Boardwalk Empire) , but the absolute best of these for us was Jidenna’s live performance of ‘Long Live the Chief’ as the opening of Episode 6. We’re not even fans of this kind of music, but the lyrics are highly effective (given Cottonmouth’s regal aspirations), setting the tone perfectly for the episode, and Jidenna’s stage performance is exceptional.

2] The Car Door Fight/Luke’s Raid on “Fort Knox”

From: Episode 3, Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?

Only three episodes in, the show granted us a fight that was very similar to (if nowhere near as good as) the greatest brawls in Daredevil. This is Cage’s second effort to hurt Stokes. He rips a car door off a vehicle and walks into Mariah’s property using it as a shield, intending to take Stokes’ stash of funds away from him. Of course, an invulnerable man doesn’t need a shield, so Luke’s decision to grab one is purely one of illusion (making it appear like the bullets are being soaked up by the door and not him, due to few knowing about his abilities at this stage) and one of practicality (having something to hit people with). Much of the fight is within corridors and on a stairwell, so the similarities to Daredevil do hit you in the face, but it’s a great sequence, important for the fact that it’s the first time that we really see Cage let loose and take on masses of foes.

1] “You Look Like a Damn Fool”/The Classic Costume

From: Episode 4, Step in the Arena

The classic Luke Cage costume from the comics.

The classic Luke Cage costume from the comics.

Suicide Squad did it first with Harley Quinn: changing her costume to something much better looking in the live action adaptation, but still including one very brief scene with her in the classic outfit, to both satiate fans and to show them just how ridiculous it would have looked had they used the costume throughout. The writers here used the same tactic, but went one step farther in having Luke comment on the costume’s ridiculousness.

After Luke (then going by his real name: Carl Lucas) punches his way out of Seagate prison, he’s still wearing the metal headpiece (the “tiara”) and metal wristbands from the experiment that gave him his abilities. Luke grabs some clothes from a stranger’s washing line, to cover his nakedness, which happen to be a yellow shirt and jeans, and with those additions the classic Luke Cage costume is complete. Luke then catches himself in the reflection of a car window and states aloud: “You look like a damn fool,” before taking the shirt off. Mike Colter has commented in interviews how he was very relieved to not have to wear that costume all season. Its brief inclusion is a really nice little acknowledgement of the comics and a nice nod for fans, given that they could have taken the opposite tact and excluded the costume completely.

Do your favourite Season 1 moments align with ours? Let us know which moments made the season for you, in the comments section below.

Image credits: Marvel, Netflix

More: Luke Cage Marvel Netflix

Written by Christopher Hart

Co-Editor in Chief / Film, TV and Literature Writer

Christopher holds an MA in Publishing and a BA in Comparative Literature, and currently works as an analyst for a major Bank in London.

Christopher self-publishes his own Science Fiction and Fantasy stories. His completed series of short stories is titled 'Altered Stone' and can be found on Amazon.

His specialist subjects include LOST, Preacher, Supergirl, A Song of Ice and Fire, Kevin Smith, Bioshock and Fallout.

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